AUSTIN - Lady Bird Johnson, 94, died of natural causes July 11 at her home in West Lake Hills with her daughters Lynda Johnson Robb and Luci Baines Johnson and her grandchildren at her side.
On July 12, Gov. Rick Perry ordered flags to half-staff in Mrs. Johnsonís honor.
Mrs. Johnsonís body lay in repose July 13 to 14 at the LBJ Library and Museum on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin. More than 11,000 people filed past her casket in the libraryís great hall.
About 1,800 people attended a private memorial service at Riverbend Church on July 14.
Among the many dignitaries in attendance at the memorial service were First Lady Laura Bush, President Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Clinton, President and Mrs. George H.W. Bush, Nancy Reagan, President and Mrs. Jimmy Carter, Gov. and Mrs. Perry, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Susan Ford Bales, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg and Maria Shriver.
On July 15, crowds of people lined Congress Avenue between the Capitol and Town Lake to pay last respects as the funeral motorcade proceeded south, then west, enroute to Johnson City.
In the early afternoon of the 15th, Mrs. Johnson was buried alongside her husband in the Johnson family cemetery in Stonewall, about 70 miles west of Austin. The cemetery is part of the LBJ National Historical Park.
Born Claudia Alta Taylor in Karnack, a small town in East Texas in 1912, Mrs. Johnson is remembered as the trusted adviser and devoted wife of the 36th president of the United States, Lyndon Baines Johnson.
President Johnson died at age 64 on Jan. 22, 1973, four years after leaving office. Mrs. Johnson outlived her husband by more than 34 years.
During her more than five years as first lady, Mrs. Johnson became recognized as the prime mover behind the Highway Beautification Act of 1965 and conservation measures. But her zeal to improve America also bore fruit in the creation of Head Start and other federal programs benefiting Americans to this day. Her work to bring attention to poverty and unmet health and education needs in rural and urban America helped President Johnson forward his agenda in the ďWar on Poverty.Ē
After President Johnsonís term of office ended in January 1969, the Johnsons returned to Texas, and Mrs. Johnson set to work on beautifying state highways with wildflowers and other native plants. Mrs. Johnson and her friend, actress Helen Hayes, worked together to found the National Wildflower Research Center in 1982. Mrs. Johnson downplayed her own efforts, but the complex and sprawling grounds in South Austin were renamed the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center because others wanted to honor her work in promoting, building, maintaining and improving the institution over many years.
Mrs. Johnsonís work to build and improve Austinís Town Lake Hike and
Bike Trail also is noteworthy.
Mrs. Johnson suffered a stroke in 2002, compromising her vision and ability to speak, but she remained active until relatively recently.
justice Hill dies
Another native of East Texas, Kilgore-born John L. Hill Jr., died July 9. He was 83.
Gov. Perry ordered flags to half staff in Hillís honor.
Hill was the only Texan to have served in all of these state offices: as secretary of state, attorney general and chief justice of the supreme court.
After graduating from the University of Texas law school in 1947, Hill became a masterful lawyer, winning high-profile cases. He worked in Harris County on John Connallyís 1964 gubernatorial campaign.
Hill served as secretary of state from 1966-68 under Gov. Connally.
He was elected attorney general in 1972 and served in that role until 1979.
Hill ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1978, losing to Bill Clements.
Hill was elected chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court in 1984 and resigned in 1988.
In 1997, then-Gov. George W. Bush appointed Hill to a post on the Texas Lottery Commission.
ED STERLING, of the Texas Press Association, writes a weekly column for the Empire-Tribune.